Wish stories

Zak's wish...

“I wish to go to Legoland”

4 years old, Belfast

Metastatic neuroblastoma

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Just two weeks after Zak began going to playgroup in 2015, he became very poorly. He was pale and wanted to sleep all the time. A scan at hospital revealed that there was a mass on Zak’s kidney the size of a small football, which had spread to his bone marrow.

Zak's story

November 2016

Diagnosis and treatment

Zak, who is now four and lives in Belfast with his parents and his baby sister, was diagnosed with a type of cancer called Metastatic Neuroblastoma. He had chemotherapy treatment every 10 days, radiotherapy and also underwent surgery to remove the mass, which Zak called “the Green Goblin!”

Zak, wearing a red jacket, being held by his mum and dad.

Zak with his mum and dad

After 14 months of intense treatment, Zak’s family was given the all-clear and he started a two year treatment trial to reduce his chances of relapsing, which is still ongoing.

Zak’s Dad, Gareth, said: “He’s been so resilient; he just gets on with it.”

One of Zak’s doctors referred him to Make-A-Wish and when asked what his dearest wish would be, Zak explained how much he loves to build with Lego and that his favourite thing to build is Batman.

Zak’s wishgranter, Nicola, arranged a special trip for the whole family to travel from their home in Northern Ireland to visit Legoland Windsor Resort, where some exciting surprises lay in store for him!

Zak's wish

March 2017

Too excited for words!

Zak and his family flew from Belfast to stay at the Legoland hotel. Before the flight, Zak was invited to meet the pilot in the cockpit and even got to wear his cap!

Gareth said: “When we got to the hotel, Zak was so excitable he actually couldn’t speak. He was trying to talk so fast about everything he was seeing that his mouth couldn’t keep up!”

Zak loved the adventure-themed room they stayed in at the hotel, complete with a treasure chest. He didn’t want to sleep for the whole time he was at Legoland – he wanted to be everywhere at once!

Zak driving a blue Lego go-kart, during his trip to Legoland.

Zak driving a Lego go-kart, during his trip to Legoland.

On the first night, there was a mini disco for children and the next day, Zak explored the park and went on lots of rides. For Zak, the best part of the whole trip was when he got to meet his favourite character - Lego Batman.

Zak shaking the hand of Lego Batman while a staff member watches on.

Zak meeting his favourite character, Lego Batman

"We had no idea how much detail his wish would involve. Everything was taken care of, so that we could just enjoy being a family together."

Gareth, Zak's dad

How Zak's wish helped

September 2017

Family time is quality time

Zak's wish gave him the chance to be a child again, after so many months of his early years were spent in hospital. He was able to go on an adventure that was entirely his own creation.

It especially meant a lot for his family to be together as one unit as Zak’s baby sister was born during his treatment so he had missed this special time, as well as missing out on going to playgroup and starting nursery with his friends.

Zak posing in front of Legoland's model village with his mum, dad and sister in a pram.

Zak and his family in front of Legoland's model village

"When we left Northern Ireland for the wish Zak was under the weather but, when we got back he was a different boy. It’s boosted his confidence and he’s not afraid of anything! He always talks about his wish to everyone."

Gareth, Zak's dad

Now, Gareth says Zak is more confident around children his own age and he was well enough to start school in the September!

A smiling Zak wearing his grey school uniform.

A smiling Zak in his school uniform

We'd like to say a big thank you to Cash for Kids Northern Ireland for supporting us by funding Zak’s wish.

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